You see it more and more in the obituary columns. “Died after a long bout with Alzheimer’s.”
There is no escaping it. Alzheimer’s disease is becoming more prevalent. The Alzheimer’s Association says that one of three seniors will die from the disease. It’s the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, the 4th leading cause in Texas. The Lone Star State is actually second in the nation in Alzheimer’s deaths. And it’s not going to get any better any time soon.
In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds. So why do we have a hard time talking about it?
Facing stigma is often a primary concern of people living with Alzheimer’s and their care partners. Those with the disease report being misunderstood because of the myths and misconceptions others have about the disease.
Stigma and lack of awareness also impacts Alzheimer’s disease research. While funding is growing, the government funds Alzheimer’s research at lower rates than other diseases, even when the cost of caring for Alzheimer’s disease is significantly higher.
Here are some ways to bring the conversation out into the open.
Be open and direct.
Engage others in discussions about Alzheimer’s disease and the need for prevention, better treatment and an eventual cure.
Communicate the facts.
Sharing accurate information is key to dispelling misconceptions about the disease.
Seek support and stay connected.
It is important to stay engaged in meaningful relationships and activities. You can find a local support group by contacting your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.
Don’t be discouraged.
If people think that Alzheimer’s disease is normal aging, see it as an education opportunity.
Be a part of the solution.
As an individual living with the disease, yours is the most powerful voice to help raise awareness, end stigma and advocate for more Alzheimer’s support and research.